James Gosling, Father of Java

I don't know what it is about my genetic structure, but I just like to build stuff. In some sense whether I'm building software, building a chair or building dinner -- also known as cooking -- I get a kick out of just creating stuff.

James Gosling has certainly been building stuff, especially software, since he started tinkering with computers. He is known as the “Father of Java” because he created the original design of Java and implemented its original compiler and virtual machine.
Where did James Gosling's approach to programming languages come from and what were his inspirations for Java? In his presentation at the JVM Language Summit 2008 he delves into what he calls his "geek autobiography" and what shaped his thinking. "A long time ago when I was first learning to program, there were really two languages - a scripting language called FOCAL and PDP-8 assembler," he says.
Programming in these two languages formed the young James Gosling's mindset.
"They had this interesting dichotomy that is sort of still with us today. FOCAL was this scripting language that was really good at building stuff fast, and PDP assembly code was good at building fast stuff," he says. He had several jobs writing compilers for different languages such as Multics Pascal and VAX Cobol. A fact that really dates him, as he says. He also spent about a year maintaining a Simula-67 compiler. "Simula pushed my love for object oriented programming. Simula was pure and simple. It was really a lovely language to use," he remembers.

But there was a plethora of other languages that influenced James Gosling. When asked by the Java Report what languages inspired him when developing Java, he answers: "They're all over the map. Using Lisp, the thing that influenced me the most was the incredible difference garbage collection made. Using Simula and being a local maintainer of the Simula compiler was really what introduced me to objects and got me thinking about objects. Using languages like Pascal got me really thinking about modeling. Languages like Modula-3 really pushed things like exception mechanisms. I've used a lot of languages, and a lot of them have been influential. You can go through everything in Java and say, 'this came from here, and this came from there.'"

At JAOO 2010 James Gosling is looking forward to an audience of "fringe crazies" for his talk "Datamining the brains of mechanical engineers or 130mph where??"

James Gosling worked for Sun for over 25 years, where he ended up as Chief Technology Officer of Sun's Developer Products Group and the CTO of Sun's Client Software Group. He briefly worked for Oracle after the acquisition of Sun. He is now blissfully unemployed.
James Gosling was elected to the United States National Academy of Engineering for his work with Java.
Did you know: GreenTalk was the original name for Oak that became Java.

James Gosling's blog
Presentation at JVM Language Summit 2008
Interview with James Gosling, Bjarne Stroustrup and Dennis Ritchie